True Detective – A Character Study

For once, I haven’t read what other critics have written about True Detective, but simply watched the show and marveled at the writing, acting and storytelling. I am addicted to the show like I haven’t been to a drama in a long time. I loved Broadchurch and Top of the Lake, miss Masters of Sex, and can’t wait for The Americans to premiere soon but True Detective fills some kind of void. I have always been drawn to detectives and crime because it’s akin to seeing ourselves and what we’re capable of and frankly I prefer darker material. I rode with the homicide detectives in the city of St. Louis for six months for an article I wrote many years ago and that experience changed me. I have written my own material about detectives and missing persons and watch hours and hours of the Discovery ID channel. I have always been as fascinated by the detectives as to the crime. I watch each episode of HBO’s compelling series many times to witness all the nuances. I have many friends who couldn’t wait for the second season of House of Cards to come out, so I’ll be adding that show to my viewing time but I’m jealous they can watch the entire show over a weekend. I would like to be able to do that with True Detective. I’m not alone. Even Barack Obama has asked HBO for advanced screeners of the show. Ok, today, I obviously started reading what others have written about the show. 

Nothing that’s been written was a major revelation or something I hadn’t considered, but then I have been writing about television for decades and have interviewed many talented show runners.  But it was a pleasure to connect with others who love the show as I do, even if I disagree with some of their observations. I do watch television differently than some of my friends but it has been fulfilling to be a viewer, to look forward to each episode as they roll out for everyone. I’m not overanalyzing the show. I loved the first few episodes, was fine with it pacing and the way each episode delved into the character’s lives. Matthew McConaughey is such a pleasure to watch as a tortured and tightly wound detective and Woody Harrelson is his equal. have theorized where the story is going but even if the destination isn’t what I would have wished for, the journey to get there has been so well worth my time.  

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Random Missives From TV LAND

I may not be writing as often but that doesn’t mean I’m not watching television. In fact, sometimes watching some of my favorite shows is one of my most enjoyable activities. Look forward to FX’s The Americans and still watching Red Widow and my other faves like The Good Wife. But right now some of the newer shows have grabbed my attention.

I love BBC’s Orphan Black. The pilot was one of the best I’ve watched and I couldn’t wait to see the next episode. Even with the sci fi element, the story is so gripping, watching Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) take over someone else’s identity. I kind of wish there weren’t so many other clones as she’s enough to keep me watching.

I was also riveted to Top of the Lake on the Sundance Channel. As bleak as it was I forgot time as it was so gripping…maybe it was the landscape or the twists and turns that weren’t all predictable, and even though I knew who Tui’s child’s father was it all along that really wasn’t what I was focused on…I love Jane Campion and she knows how to tell a story but Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) showed just how great she is and that she could anchor a drama. Her relationship with Johnno (Thomas M. Wright) was so sensual and raw and real but al along it seemed doomed somehow. Even before the secret was revealed. There was little sentimentality here and I really liked that as that’s what Americans can over do sometimes. To all showrunners and creators out there…more…more….more.

Watching Mad Men, one of my favorite shows, but the first three episodes are much less interesting to me than in previous seasons. Not big on the flashbacks of Don when he was younger…he’s a jerk really so don’t try to tell us now why he’s like that. Interesting moments of course…but not as compelling.

I’m really looking forward to Sunday night’s documentary All the President’s Men Revisited, a new documentary made by Robert Redford about the Watergate scandal and featuring material from the book and the film of the same name, which he starred in with Dustin Hoffman. I loved the film directed by the late Alan J. Pakula and the inside look at a newsroom.  As a young woman, I became enthralled with Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post and the late Katherine Graham, a former publisher of the once most prestigious newspaper.

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Winter TV Landscape Full This Month

Coming on the heels of the end of season two of Showtime’s Homeland, I’m relieved and excited that there’s so much great television commencing this month. It is a new year and winter after all, a time for hibernation and of course television watching, not that I need any other motivation than my own viewing pleasure. Still, the new and returning shows are as welcome as a rich cup of hot chocolate.

After watching episodes of season two of Downton Abbey, I’m more than ready for the beginning of seven weeks of new episodes as season three kicks off this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on PBS. There’s so many story lines to explore and there’s also the addition of Shirley MacLaine to the amazing cast of characters…a shout out to Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith.

Already enjoyed a new episode of Parenthood on New Year’s Day and ABC’s Nashville returns with new episodes on Wednesday. ABC re-aired the pilot of the show last night and CMT hosts a marathon of the drama on Sunday, January 6 at 2 p.m. ET/PT. My sense is that the show’s ratings have gone down since the pilot and I have lost a bit of my initial passion for the show but I’m going to hang in there because I love the city of Nashville and for the music and for the amazing performances of the two leads — Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.

One of the promising new pilots, Deception, finally makes NBC’s airwaves on  Monday  and the highly anticipated drama The Following comes to Fox on January 21. Showtime’s Californication is back on January 13.

On the Case with Paula Zahn already began its new season on Discovery ID and True Crime with Aphrodite Jones begins on Monday at 10:00 p.m. The fourth season of Justified begins on FX on Tuesday, January 8. Timothy Olyphant, what more do I need to say? Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). I totally missed season three so would prefer to catch up before I tune in to the new season, which will feature Patton Oswalt and Ron Eldard.

What more could you want?

 

 

 

 

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HOMELAND SEASON FINALE LITERALLY EXPLODED WITH POSSIBILITIES AND ACTION

Okay…I was lulled into a false sense of security on Showtime’s Homeland…as if the ongoing terrorist threat was lessened to such a degree that it no longer mattered. Brody (Damian Lewis) and Carrie (Claire Daines)  together, that’s what mattered. And then…POW! There it was the explosion the carnage and chaos. And only Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Carrie are left to investigate…oh and the highly watchable Quinn (Rupert Friend) !!! I don’t believe that Brody is responsible for the bomb but is being set up by Nazir’s “people” to be the scapegoat, and a very believable one at that. A third season is already ordered so Carrie will work to clear Brody’s name…with Saul, I guess. But if the show had ended, I would have been satisfied with Carrie and Brody walking off in the sunset. But since that isn’t the way it’s going to be…YET, I can see future storylines examining who the hell is Saul…REALLY! Could there be any sparks between Quinn and Carrie…hey, I’m just thinking. He respects her CIA abilities and I think he likes and trusts her, too, And what will Brody be doing in Canada, investigating on his own?

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David Geffen – American Master Premieres Tonight on PBS

American Masters Inventing David Geffen premieres tonight on PBS at 7 p.m. CST. Two time Emmy-winning filmmaker Susan Lacy, the creator and executive producer of the American Masters series interviews many of his friends, clients, and friends (Cher, Don Henley, Clive Davis, Elton John, Mike Nichols, Yoko Ono and Jann Wenner) to explore Geffen’s professional and personal life. He launched the careers of Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne and co-founded DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.  In the end, the portrait doesn’t shy away from those who bear major grudges against him, including  Laura Nyro, The Clintons and The Eagles. Even though he’s gay he romanced Cher and he’s also struggled with cancer.

At the TCA summer press tour, Geffen, notoriously camera-shy,  and Lacy presented a panel on the show. Geffen was a man of few words, while Lacy tried to fill in the sometimes awkward silences. Here, she’s done the same thing and the two-hour program definitely speaks for itself and for Geffen who as a manager, agent, music mogul and Hollywood and Broadway producer and philanthropist is truly an American Master.

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ID’s Disappeared Begins Fifth Season Tonight at 9 Central Time

The case of Mitrice Richardson, the young woman who left a Lost Hills/Malibu sheriff’s station, after being arrested for leaving a restaurant in the area without paying, and was never seen again opens up the show’s fifth season. This was a strange case from the beginning…why the sheriff would let her leave at 12:30 a.m. alone in the dark, without her purse or cell phone when her car was still in the impound lot was always fraught with questions. While her remains were eventually found in Malibu Canyon a year after her release, this bizarre case brings up many of the limitations of the legal system. Should she even have been arrested at all is one of the major issues and literally every detail of the handling of the case has come into question and her parents sued the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department and won a settlement. Hope the hour-long segment does the case justice.

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Parenthood and The Good Wife Feature Compelling Family Dynamics

Parenthood wasn’t on last night and I was bummed…I like hanging out with the Braverman’s partly to avoid my own family’s dysfunction but also because the NBC family isn’t perfect, either. Certainly, their troubles aren’t as wild as Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) on CBS’ The Good Wife, another of my must-watch television shows, but it’s those day to day moments of a family, that Parenthood offers, that are special. In contrast, The Good Wife is often all mirrors and illusions in terms of the political scene and the law firm…and the domestic life of both Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda is totally out of the realm of reality for most people. But still the character’s personal lives are what ground the show and allow for all the intrigue and high jinks on the job.

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